Thursday, May 22, 2014

I could use a break. Anyone have a KitKat bar?

I did not have a good weekend last week.  And saying it was "not good" is an understatement.  And things have only gotten worse since then.

I did a check of my outstanding achievements in Gears of War 3 and I found that there were 160 points that I could realistically get in that game before I would consider myself done.  Getting the achievement for onyxing every medal is not what I call realistic for me.  I'm just trying to keep it real.  But executing Minh 10 times is doable.  Getting 10 reflective kills is doable.  Re-upping for a 2nd time is doable.  And maxing out the command center levels is doable.  Among others.

Or should I say WAS doable.

I've been working on leveling up my "Ready for the Heavies" medal to onyx and I only had 10 more ribbons to get to do so.  I was working on getting those last 10 ribbons all week last week.  Sometimes it was easy.  Sometimes I was playing with a bunch of idiots.  And sometimes my teammates were just too good.

On Saturday night I finally got the last ribbon needed to make the medal onyx.  When the match was over I jumped in to my stats and checked out my newest Onyx medal.  It looked so pretty.  I sat and admired it for awhile before searching around for the next medal I'd focus on to try and get it onyx.

The next closest one was earning money in Horde and if I also spent money repairing the command center I could get that achievement as well.  It seemed like a win-win situation.  Unfortunately it was late and I really wasn't in the mood to play some Horde so I jumped into some Guardian matches (another medal close to leveling up - sadly not to onyx).

I played a few rounds.  I was the leader a couple of times and even killed someone as the leader (working towards another medal).  After a couple of matches I called it a night and jumped out of the game and logged off for the night.

On Sunday I didn't get to play until later in the evening.  I put in Gears 3 ready to grind away at some Hordes and hopefully getting an onyx medal or an achievement before the night was over.  But things didn't turn out that way as soon as I hit the start button.

My system froze a little bit as it was "downloading player profile".  No big deal, right?  It's done that to me many times before.  Unfortunately this time it was different.  As soon as it unfroze I started to get pop ups for unlocking this character, or unlocking this weapon skin, or unlocking something else.  I thought that was very strange and maybe there was a medal or achievement that was glitched and was hoping it was finally unglitched and I actually earned something I should have a long time ago.


On the party screen it said my level was 1.  That didn't worry me too much.  A lot of times it has taken my screen a while to update with my current level.  When I got into my stats menu I realized things were worse than that.  Much worse.

My level on the stats screen said 11.  That's right.  A one followed by another one.  I was level 67 and about a third of the way to level 68 on my second go around on levels.  I had "prestiged" once and my level was a different color.  But now the system was saying I was 157 levels less than what I was when I played the night before.

Oh, but it gets worse.

When I looked at my stats I showed that I haven't even played the game at all.  No Horde.  No Beast.  No multiplayer.  And no campaign.  Everything was gone.  Almost everything.  I still had the characters and weapon skins unlocked . . . but only up to level 11.  It was showing that I collected every collectible item in the campaign, even if it showed that I had never played the campaign.

All my ribbons were gone as well.  I only had 2 ribbons I hadn't earned yet.  One was for reviving 3 downed teammates as a kantas in beast mode.  The other was for killing 3 headsnakes in Horde.  The headsnakes were much more doable in my opinion.  All those 130+ ribbons were gone.  Grayed out.  locked up as if never earned.  Ever.

And then there was the medals.  I immediately got the onyx medal for earning achievements in Gears 2 so at least that wasn't taken from me.  All the other medals (except one) looked like dusty unused trinkets found in the back of your grandmother's closet.  Unloved.  And not looked at for years.  The only other medal that had something (besides the Gears 2 medal) was the medal for playing in Gears of War 3 events.  That medal was sitting at 29 out of 30.  I remember sitting at that level for so long wondering if I would ever get that last event to play in before they finally had something going and I was finally able to get that medal to onyx.  Finally.

Except this time I was stuck back and 29 out of 30.  And I don't think there's anymore events to play in to make it onyx.  I was dumbfounded.  I didn't consider getting the achievement for getting all onyx medals as being realistic for me.  Killing your nemesis X about of time, and getting "number 1" in arcade mode are probably out of my wheelhouse when it comes to game play.  But not having another "event" to play when I only needed one to make that medal onyx was a blow I just couldn't take.

I logged off.  I would have cried but I was so shocked and dumbfounded that I just couldn't get the tears to fall.  Three years of my life wiped out from one night to the next.  And no hope of getting it all back.

I talked with a friend who knows someone who this happened to.  Fortunately for him it was still early enough in the game that he could recover and earned everything back.  He had sent Epic an email explaining what happened and wanted to know if they could do anything about it.  Unfortunately for him, and later for me, Epic said they know about the problem, don't know why it is happening and have no way to fix it when it does.  Way to go Epic.

I was so traumatized that I couldn't even look at ANY gaming console Sunday night.  I was baffled and befuddled.  Angry and anxious.  It was like being robbed all over again.  But this time it wasn't dumbass people being shitheads that broke in and took things, it was a dumbass company who took things because their shit broke and they don't know how to fix it.  This happened to me before in Gears of War 2.  I lost 15 levels from one log in to the next.  My friend lost about 10 when it happened to him.  It was early enough in the game that I got over it but I remember being at level 89 when everyone else on my friends list was maxing out at 100 (we use to be all close together in ranks).  Once they maxed out they didn't want to play the game any more.  It was really hard to get those last 11 levels mostly on my own.  When I finally got to level 100 and got my wings my friends said "well it's about time".  If I'm having a hard enough time finding friends to play with me right now in Gears 3 what chance did I have to have them play longer with me to unlock the campaign again?

 I went to bed Sunday night not even wanting to play my Xbox 360 every again.  But at lunch on Monday I thought I would try a bunch of things to see if that might help.  One of the things I tried was deleting my profile and redownloading it.  That didn't help.  I even tried having the game download my profile to the cloud instead of my hard drive.  Still nothing worked.

I then decided I would play a level in the campaign and see if that might magically unlock things for me.  I played the first level on normal and when done my screen went ballistic with unlocking stuff.  I jumped out and checked my stats and it seems like I got credit for fully playing the campaign on casual and normal and also playing those difficulties in Arcade mode.  Hmm....

I played the next level on hardcore and the same things happened.  I then played the next level on insane and next thing I know I've got an onyx medal for playing the campaign on insane and playing arcade on insane.  I was starting to think that things might not be all bad.  At least I didn't have to play the entire campaign again.

I next tried Beast mode and while I unlocked beast on casual and normal I didn't unlock anything else for all those other Beast medals.  Previously I had onyx medals for all of beast mode but now they were still grayed out and locked.  You could see the counter going up for what I played but I didn't get credit for everything like I did with the campaign.  The only good news was that I got credit for playing an "event" when I finished the Beast mode game and that medal turned onyx . . . again.

I then gave up on Gears 3.  Partly because I had to go to work, but partly because I had to decide if I was going to put the time in to get everything back that I previous had.  That would mean starting over from scratch in Horde . . . when I was almost done with it.  That meant trying to get those ribbons that I had to have a friends help me plan out and get.  If I played Gears every night faithfully how long would it take me to get back what I had?  How long would I get bored of the game and could no longer stand it?  How many other games would I not be playing because I'm having to recreate everything in Gears again?  I just wanted those 160 points in my gamerscore then I could put Gears 3 aside until nostalgia stuck and I felt compelled to play it again.

On Tuesday I put Gears 3 away and tried playing Lost Odyssey.  It turns out I'm in the last area before I get to put in disk 4.  That means I'm close to being where I was before I was robbed.  And close to finishing the game.  Unfortunately I was having a hard time with my magic users coming up against physical attack enemies.  Two hits and my characters is out.  And since they all come after the same character when it's their turn I always had a character down (sometimes 2) at the end of every round.  And the first character they always take out is my designated healer.

Enough with the Xbox 360 games.  I just couldn't take it anymore.  I disconnected my 360 and stashed it away.  I figure my gaming time would be better served playing on another system.  It turns out it wasn't.  I couldn't get my PS2 to load three of the games I wanted to play.  I finally found a game that it would load (Champions of Norrath) and started that.

It was very obvious from my saved file that the last time I played this game was when I replaced it after having it stolen.  And then, I only played it long enough to see that it worked (character was level 3).  Unfortunately, after trying to play and dying all the time, because I was out of health potions, I gave up on that game and walked away.

I'm not sure what I'll play now.  What game or what system.  I just can't catch a break. If I can't catch a break I think I'll just have a KitKat bar instead.  With my luck I won't be able to open the wrapper.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

1 minute Dragon game

So I’ve got another “1 minute” game for you.  This time, here there be dragons.  Yep.  Those big winged flapping lizard-like creatures.  You have 1 minute to list as many video games that have dragons in them.  Be they bosses, pets, or just in cut scenes.  It should be easy, right?  So . . .

On your mark . . . .

Get set . . . .

Go . . .

You got started off really fast.

You’ve named a couple but are you sure they really have dragons in them?

Oops, is that a duplicate?

Come on keep going.

You’ve run out of ideas already?

Okay . . . and time’s up.

How many did you get?  Here’s my list.  I have a few maybes on it and I’ll have to explain those.


My list:
Legend of Dragoon
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy VII
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age 2
Spyro the Dragon
Spyro the Dragon: Ripto’s Rage
Sypro the Dragon: Enter the Dragonfly
Blue Dragon

My maybes:
Dark Stone
Balder’s Gate
Champions of Norath
Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade

So I got 10 that I know of for sure that have dragons.  I could have probably listed all of the Final Fantasy games but I wasn’t sure if they all had a dragon in them.  I’m not even totally sure with FF7 but I’m hedging my bet that it does.  And I'm know there are more Spyro games that what I have listed but I can't remember any more than what I put down.

As to the maybes I have various excuses or doubts about including them.  I might have to do some research to see if I’m just imagining things with these games or I got it right.  Unless someone wants to do it for me and put it in the comment’s section. 

It’s been a very long time since I played Dark Stone and then I didn’t even get very far in the game.  I’ve been meaning to go back and what I remember of the game it’s perfect to have a dragon.

It’s also been a very long time since I’ve played both Balder’s Gate and Champions of Norath.  They are also a couple of games that have got to have a dragon or two.  I’m pretty sure that my brother dain and I have finished both of those games but nothing comes to mind specifically about dragons.  Even if not a boss but just something terrifying to look at in a cut scene.

Summoner is the game dain and I are supposed to be finishing for the PS2.  When I think of “summoners” I think of magic and summoning dragons.  So there’s got to be a dragon in that game right?

Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade is a game I’ve been playing on the PSP.  It’s another game that I’m not very far in but seems perfect to having a dragon in the game.  If not a boss, then some eye candy instead.  There’s another game in the Untold Legends series that I have but I can’t remember the name so I didn’t count it.  Warrior’s Code.  Or maybe, Warrior’s Guild.  Or something like that.  Since I can’t remember what it’s called, I’m not counting it.  Even as a maybe.

Gauntlet is a game my brother dain and I have finished a couple of times.  On the N64.  On the PS.  And on the GameCube.  And maybe more systems and versions of the game.  I can’t remember if there are any dragons in the game.  If there are they’re probably fought while on the ground.  At least I don’t remember any aerial combat battles in any of those games.  And since I can’t remember any subtitles for any of those versions I’m only counting them as one game.  And that’s only a maybe too.

Personally I’m disappointed with myself.  I thought I would have done better than that.  Especially since one of my favorite genres of video games is RPGs and those are usually fantasy games.  And aren’t dragons, in one form or another, a requirement in fantasy games?  Maybe if I played more of those games . . . or at least played more IN all of those games that I have I could have done better.  How well did you do?  Leave your results in the comments.  And if you’ve got some ideas for more “1 minute” game ideas leave those in the comments as well.  I’ve got a few more ideas I want to explore but it won’t hurt to have more.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Just to show you what I have been playing . . .

And here's a list of my most completed games from my spreadsheet I talked about in my previous post.  All my games down to 20% completion.  You can probably see a trend, it's not hard to see.  My overall numbers are 17,615 gamer score earned out of 134,745 possible points for a 13% completion percentage.  Obviously my arcade titles are not included in this number.

I’m really not this organized.

I’ve had several people ask me how I keep track of my games and how I’m doing in them.  It’s not hard and it’s not a secret.  I use an Excel Workbook.

When my brother, dain bramage, and I started playing together we didn’t have very many games.  We would give each other games as gifts if we hadn’t bought that game for ourselves previously.  After a while it got hard to remember who had what game.   We both sat down and created an inventory of every game we owned.  It was just a simple Excel spreadsheet.  One for each system.  We also added a column for “dain owns” on mine and “Pengwenn owns” on his.

Once we did this it was very easy for him to pick the games for our little challenge that started this blog oh so many years ago.  It was also easy to figure out what games to get the other person.  And when I got robbed it was a godsend for filling out those claim forms.  Plus it is an easy way to check off the games I had replaced as I was recovering from the theft.

Here's a snapshot of the first couple games on my Xbox 360 tab.  You can see I haven't play these games very much.  (I did changed my brother's name because I don't call him "dain bramage" in real life but that's what you know him here in my blog world.)

If you have a lot of games (I also have a similar list for my movies) I would highly recommend creating an inventory for said games (or movies).  There’s so many useful things you can do with this information.  You can search for games that are almost complete in their achievements so you can focus on those and finish them off.  If you marked which ones you’ve finished you know what ones you can blog about . . . of help your friends with or recommend something.  It’s also helpful to seeing trends in your game buying.

I went through a “buying only RPG” phase.  Don’t remember what set that off but I have a bunch of games I know I got at around the same time and they’re all RPGs.  Most of them I haven’t even played other than to put it in the machine to make sure the disk will load.  I also went through a “FPS” phase after I got my Xbox 360.  That phase I can point to Gears of War and Call of Duty 4 specifically.

Another way I’ve organized my list is by games with strategy guides.  If I have a guide I’m likely to play the game knowing that if I get stuck I’ve got something handy to help me get unstuck.  But even though I buy the guide for most games I really don’t like to use them unless I’m desperate.  I much prefer to figure things out on my own even if it will give me headache while I’m trying to do so.

I’ve also been able to organize my list by games with no gamer score.   I don’t like seeing games without a gamer score.  There’s just something about that “0” that screams “YOU NEVER PLAY ME” and while that might be true I feel terrible about neglecting one of my games.  There are just so many hours in the day so it’s unavoidable to not getting around to certain games.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not at least thinking about them.  Now that I can isolate which ones they are I can work on playing them and getting some achievements.  It worked for Too Human.  I now have 150 points in that game. 

Until recently I had the games listed alphabetically, but by release dates for collective franchises.  That means that while Assassin’s Creed would list 1-4 first before Brotherhood and Revolution my list was showing them in order of the release date.  That way I could play them in order as they were meant to be played without messing up the timelines.  Unfortunately the last sort I did messed that up and I haven’t gone back and corrected that mash-up.

And speaking of release dates, I have a separate list with the release dates of all the games.  Why?  Because I feel bad for not getting around to playing Batman: Arkahm City, but I feel even worse for not playing Kamino.  Why?  B:AC was released in October 2011 but Kamino was released November 2005.  It was a launch title and I haven’t gotten very far in the game.  That game (among others) have been sitting around longer so I’ve had more time to play them, but haven’t.  But whatever you do don’t get me started on my original Playstation games that I haven’t played.  The number of those un-played games will just spiral me down into depression if I think about that too long.  Again, not enough time in the day.

Despite this fancy, organized spreadsheet I’m not running a well oiled machine here.  I still can’t decide which games to play.  I still play games I’ve finished but can’t get enough of.  I still can’t get to all my older games.  And I still give up to easily when things go south.  

 I’ve been really trying to evaluate any new purchases on a scale of what I’m really dying to play (there’s a spot on my list for those games as well).  Unfortunately I occasionally give in to the hype and buy a game that I had originally planned on passing on.  I won’t mention any name Call of Duty: Ghosts.  I might look organized but I just say “meh” and play whatever I’m in the mood for at that time.